Solomon Lartey spent the first five months of the Trump administration working in the Old Executive Office Building, standing over a desk with scraps of paper spread out in front of him.
Lartey, who earned an annual salary of $65,969 as a records management analyst, was a career government official with close to 30 years under his belt. But he had never seen anything like this in any previous administration he had worked for. He had never had to tape the president’s papers back together again.
Armed with rolls of clear Scotch tape, Lartey and his colleagues would sift through large piles of shredded paper and put them back together, he said, “like a jigsaw puzzle.” Sometimes the papers would just be split down the middle, but other times they would be torn into pieces so small they looked like confetti.
Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records.
Irene Porada, the head of human resources who personally terminated both men, did not respond to an email requesting comment. A White House spokesman also did not respond to a request for comment about the terminations.